Posts Tagged ‘child support’

A Comparison of Child Support under the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Guidelines

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Here is a comparison applying the child support guidelines of each local jurisdiction to a typical case: two children, sole custody, $0 health insurance and $0 child care costs and combined monthly income of $10,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $7,500 and custodial parent’s income is $2,500:
District
total support $25,174/12 = $2,098
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,573

Maryland
total support $1,811
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,358

Virginia
total support – $1,567
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,175

Again, applying the child support guidelines to a case with the same facts except combined monthly income of $15,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $11,250 and custodial parent’s income is $3,750:
District of Columbia recommended support order – $2,197

Maryland recommended support order – $2,135

Virginia recommended support order – $1,541

And the same facts except combined monthly income of $20,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $15,000 and custodial parent’s income is $5,000
District of Columbia: recommended support order – $2,714

Maryland recommended support order (extrapolated)- $2,847

Virginia recommended support order – $1,765

And now with combined monthly income of $30,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $22,500 and custodial parent’s income is $7,500
District of Columbia: recommended support order – $2,714

Maryland recommended support order (extrapolated)- $4,271

Virginia recommended support order – $2,144

As you can see, at higher incomes, child support is much lower in Virginia than in Maryland or the District, just as it was in 2011. At incomes over $20,000, recommended support in Maryland using extrapolation is much higher than in DC or Virginia.

U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Incarceration for Non-payment of Child Support

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

            Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Turner v Rogers, 387 S. C. 142, 691 S. E. 2d 470, a case involving incarceration for contempt of court for failure to pay child support, something which is an every day occurrence in courts all over the country. 

            The petitioner argued that an alleged contemnor facing imprisonment should be entitled to counsel under the U.S. Constitution. Two important policies were in play – individual liberty vs. the interest in prompt and full payment of court-ordered child support.  The Court has previously ruled that civil contempt penalties, including incarceration, do not trigger federal constitutional guaranties because they are not punishment, their purpose is to coerce compliance with the court order.  The time-worn phrase is the Defendant “has the keys to the jailhouse in his pocket.”  If he pays – he walks.

         The Court declined to rule that defendants in civil contempt cases are entitled to legal counsel and, if indigent, one provided by the state.  But the Court held that federal constitution guaranties require substitute procedural safeguards to reduce the risks of erroneous incarcerations of child support defendants who lack the ability to pay.  These safeguards include (1) notice to the defendant that his “ability to pay” is a critical issue in the contempt proceeding; (2) the use of a form (or the equivalent) to elicit relevant financial information from him; (3) an opportunity at the hearing for him to respond to statements and questions about his financial status; and (4) an express finding by the court that the defendant has the ability to pay.  Since the record indicated that Turner was incarcerated without these safeguards, the Court vacated the ruling and remanded the case to the lower court.

Child Support Guidelines – Upper Limits on Combined Incomes

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

            Maryland recently revised its statute to increase the income limit of the child support guideline to combined monthly income of $15,000, and increase support payable at all income levels.  The Maryland guidelines do not explicitly apply to cases where combined monthly income exceeds $15,000, but Maryland case law suggests that it can be appropriate to determine child support in above guidelines cases by extrapolating at the marginal rate applicable at the highest guidelines bracket.  The most popular Maryland child support calculator, SASI-CALC, extrapolates in that way.

            The District of Columbia child support guidelines apply up to combined monthly income of $20,000.  The District’s guidelines do not apply presumptively to cases where the parent’s combined income exceeds $20,000 per month, but support cannot be less than it would be at $20,000 combined income.

            The Virginia statutory child support charts end at combined monthly income of $10,000 but the statute explicitly provides for the rate of child support on monthly incomes exceeding $10,000.  For example, total support for two children increases $5.10 for each $100 dollars of combined income between $10,000 and $20,000.  So no case is “above the guidelines” in Virginia.

Life Insurance to Assure Payment of Child Support

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

The decision to pay money to an insurance company now so that the insurance company will pay others after you are dead is usually undertaken with some ambivalence.
If you have minor children, you generally still need life insurance coverage post-divorce but it is a prospect that many people find even more distasteful at that time. Add to this, the fact that the divorce court generally cannot order a party to obtain or continue life insurance. (In Virginia, the court can order a party to continue existing life insurance coverage and designate children as beneficiaries if the party has a duty of support to such minor children. Va. Code Sec. 20-108. D) So the party who is proponent of the life insurance coverage, usually the economically dependent spouse, will often have to make a concession on some other issue to get the desired life insurance coverage. In many cases, since that concession would means less money now to the economically dependent spouse, the concession is not made and the life insurance is not agreed to. As a result, many divorced fathers and mother have far less life insurance coverage than a married parent with similar income, net worth and family responsibilities would have. One more risk for children of divorce.

When we represent the economically dependant spouse, or in case where there are two significant income earners, we look carefully at apparent life insurance needs and counsel clients to seek an agreement requiring adequate life insurance coverage. When we represent the higher earner, if there are minor children, we counsel our client to carefully examine the life insurance need and think it through before bargaining for lower coverage.

It is always necessary from the insured’s viewpoint for the Agreement to provide for reduced coverage as the future financial obligation decreases over time. This is especially important if the life insurance policy does not lock in level premiums per unit of coverage for the duration of the obligation. It is best to consult with an experienced life insurance agent with a highly rated insurance company while the marital settlement agreement is being negotiated to determine the availability and cost of coverage.

 
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